SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   Sat, March 18, 2006



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SHIMMER taping


The Ultimate Warrior


Raw in New Orleans


WrestleMania XXX Main Events


WrestleMania XXX Opening Half


WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony
WWE Hall of Fame Red Carpet


Make-A-Wish party







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT




RECENT PHOTO GALLERIES: SHIMMER taping
Ultimate Warrior | Raw in New Orleans | ROH Supercard of Honor VIII
WRESTLEMANIA XXX: Section | Photos

THE SCOOP: Visit our News & Rumours page.


Saturday a great night to fight
Grappling returns to NBC for first time since early '90s
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun




In 1985, when Hulkamania propelled wrestling to previously unimaginable levels of popularity, NBC Sports exec Dick Ebersol struck a deal with WWF boss Vince McMahon.

Ebersol wanted to bring the wrestling phenomenon to network television and, at the peak of the first wrestling boom, Saturday Night's Main Event was born.

The show was a pay-per-view style grappling event with revolutionary production values and all-star matches -- something fans had never seen before on free TV.

The show debuted on NBC in 1985, filling the slot usually occupied by Saturday Night Live and did such great ratings numbers it became a staple on the network for the rest of the decade.

Based around stars like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Jesse Ventura and Andre the Giant, SNME brought wrestling out of the limited cable universe and into the mainstream American consciousness.

The show often blew SNL's ratings out of the water and, to this day, boasts the highest wrestling viewership ever in North America.

When the wrestling business went cold in the early '90s, NBC decided to pull the plug on the show.

SNME resurfaced on the Fox network for a few episodes but grappling's popularity was on a down slide. It wound up being axed completely in 1992.

It was the last time wrestling would be seen on one of the big four American networks. That is, until tonight.

For the first time in almost 15 years, the wrestling world is gearing up for Saturday Night's Main Event.

The decision to resurrect the franchise came last fall when WWE moved its programming from Viacom to the NBC-Universal family.

As part of the deal to bring Raw to the USA network, McMahon was promised regular prime-time specials on the main NBC network.

SNME will be the first of those specials, airing live tonight from the Cobo Arena in Detroit.

The headline match is a clash between all of the main event participants in next month's Wrestlemania event. John Cena will team with his 'Mania opponent, Triple H, to face the three men who will fight for the world title at 'Mania, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Kurt Angle.

Also on the card, Shawn Michaels and Shane McMahon are set for a street fight and the Boogeyman and Booker T are booked to go one-on-one.

One of the biggest selling points of the show is the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin left WWE over a creative dispute last October but will be back in action tonight.

The Rattlesnake won't be wrestling -- due to career-ending injuries suffered in the ring -- but will take on JBL in a good old fashioned beer drinking contest.

Jim Ross, who was unceremoniously pulled off the air six months ago when WWE bosses decided they wanted a younger and more cosmetic announcing team, will also be back on the air. Ross returns to the broadcast booth, calling the action along with Tazz and Jerry (The King) Lawler.

Anther big match at the event will be a women's tag, with Trish Stratus and Mickie James taking on Victoria and Candace Michelle. This will be a storyline-heavy collision, with James expected to make her long overdue heel turn, setting up a title match with Stratus for Wrestlemania.

A prime-time slot on network TV is a huge opportunity for WWE, which has been struggling to keep ratings steady for a few years. If the company can hit a home run with this event and if the rating comes in strong, it opens up a world of opportunities that haven't been available in over a decade.


Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Hulk Hogan Ultimate Anthology DVD Set